Vancouver’s Strange Fellows Brewing has always had an appreciation for the esoteric. Each month the brewery celebrates a different “Strange Day,” inspired by obscure superstitions and folklore from around the world.
On Jan. 26, those lovable weirdos are having a party for Up Helly Aa (not a typo)—the pagan fire festival that marks the end of Yuletide feasting—complete with axe throwing, fire and free beer.
Count us in!
Originating from the Shetland Islands, Up Helly Aa symbolizes the rebirth of the sun by flipping a big ol’ collective middle finger at winter. Traditionally, a replica Viking longship is dragged through the streets of the village to a hilltop where it is ceremoniously torched, followed by much drunken revelry until the wee hours. What else are you going to do for fun in the middle of winter when you’re stuck on a rock in the middle of the North Atlantic? Or a rain-soaked outpost on the North Pacific, for that matter.
To get into the Up Helly Aa spirit, Strange Fellows will be hosting an axe-throwing competition, tapping some sweet casks and sending New Year wishes to Valhalla on the smoke of a flaming Viking longship (may not be to scale).
Early bird tickets (available online until Jan. 18) are $17.50 and include a beer and axe-throwing. Tickets are $20 after Jan. 18. Those wearing kilts get a free beer, so don’t be afraid to break out the plaid.